Tuesday, 15 November 2011

ROAD TO AUSTRIA


I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last post and about the same amount of time since the inception of this trip.
A spontaneous imagination of two tipsy guys just chilling over a few drinks and some great music one weekend led to this point right here. Right here is just a month to a lovely vacation in a beautiful snow covered country this winter break. It’s been a pretty eventful time getting to this point and I can’t believe we are actually going through with our plans to visit Europe.
Summer in Belgrade with Gobzie
 
Last time I was in Europe was the in the beautiful summer of 2009 2 years ago in Belgrade Serbia and it left quite an impression on me especially after all my skepticism born out of belief in the stuff I hear on the news about Eastern European countries. So I was very surprised to discover otherwise after having the best two weeks of my life at any given time experiencing European summer for the very first time. I must say the reason I got there are totally far from the reasons I actually fell in love with it. We had gone for the 25th Universiade (World University Games) and although the multitude of nationalities we interacted added to the charm of that experience, the foremost thing that attracted me to Belgrade was the beautiful people and cool lifestyle that I came into contact with. The beautiful crowded beaches, the lovely pedestrian streets filled with colorful things to look at, the ancient architectural buildings in the midst of a modern city, the cute romantic cafes in the pedestrian streets, the beautiful expanse of the parks, old men playing chess under the shade of the trees, young people making out on park benches or simply taking strolls hand in hand, the lovely ponds filled with ducks and geese, the complete lack of noise pollution, stinky rubbish and crowded sweaty bodies and congestion and dust that’s so characteristic of Kampala was a welcome change to what my usual life is and the night life was definitely much more cooler maybe because of the fact that I could probably count the number of black faces in a club. It’s sometimes nice to actually see that you are somebody different among a sea of bodies and I now know the thrill that foreigners find in living among us where you can actually see the effect of living. Finally there’s proof that your life actually counts for something by just being. You don’t have to do or try anything special.
Of course I had firsthand experience of true Eastern European hospitality which was a major plus.
The Inception Night
Fast forward to 2 years later and I am ready for a new taste of a different kind of European experience. This time it will be in a Schengen area and it will be as cold as anything I have never imagined but that truly perks my sense of adventure. I must say I have never lived in a cold climate and the thought of living in negative zeros degrees is a little daunting but there’s no stopping now. It’s a little too late to change my mind. I have less than 30 days to it and I have already gone through a great length to acquire a visa I might just as well put it to good use.
So back to how it all started. I had just come back from Shanghai and was chilling wit my best bud Gobzie in his little shop in Kikoni feeling so Ug grounded after a brief stay in China, I must have looked so miserable that Gobzie decided I needed a drink. The thing wit him is that he probably takes more of the alcohol than he actually sells. He tore a whole new pack of Zed and grabbed some cans of Safi to punch it with and we settled for a mellow Sunday evening regardless of the fact that the next day was a working day.
Normally we do this while surfing online since we are both attached to our computers and holding multiple conversations on all the chat sites and having access to online information makes it a tad more interesting pastime
So at that point our current conversation involved all the places we’d been to together outside of Ugandan borders and how much fun we’d had and wouldn’t it be nice if we could do it again.
‘Hmmm I have an idea’ said Robert
‘I have this grand gentleman I used to live with back in the days in Austria and I am pretty sure if we got tickets he would host us for the Christmas holidays’
‘’Hmmm that would be nice” I said. ‘How much do u reckon is the cost of a ticket to Vienna?’’
‘’Let’s find out”
So we went online and discovered that the ticket cost a mere USD706
We stared at the figure in disbelief. ‘Whattt!!!” I exclaimed ‘’ seriously that’s 2 months saving of my salary
‘Dude, Why don’t we do this?’’ “I tell you man we will have so much fun if we went to Austria’’ said Gobzie
Then he went ahead to tell me about all the wonderful things that we could do this winter which included a tour of all the neighboring countries around Austria depending on how much time and money we could amass by then. Some of it included the prospect of skiing in the mountains accompanied with animated illustrations of what it feels like skiing and visual illustrations from some web pages to reinforce the narration.
 I was still uncertain about all this because of the age old fear of things new and far away from my comfort zone. I wasn’t completely sold until he mentioned that our host is a patron at a swim club he used to be a member of and he could get me into the club to train with the elite swimmers for free and I was like now that’s a good point to make this journey.
I still had a lot of questions about how we would afford our stay over there and he told me not to worry about it coz we will be in good hands and to prove the point he called our host and made the request on loudspeaker and I listened with my jaws dropping every second as our intended host expressed how they would be thrilled to have our company. And I kept thinkin ‘’ this guy is actually serious about all this and we don’t even have a single coin saved for this venture’’ but Gobzie with his usual enthusiasm was on a roll and could not be stopped
As an icing on the cake he continued ‘’ you know you could even get your Serbian gal to come spend the holiday with us. Am sure our hosts wouldn’t mind coz they have this huge house and plenty of space and trust me when I say they can afford to host us for a great number of weeks or months!! You will eat all the food you want and get back here twice you size seeing that u really need some extras in the size area heheehehehe’’
The mention of the prospect of spending time with Jassie was pretty much irresistible.

‘’Alright!’’ I said. ‘’I’m INJ

Friday, 22 July 2011

DAY 5



wat now???
I am beginning to lose track of time, things are settling in some sort of routine which includes wake up to breakfast, get bus to Oriental Sports Centre (the competition venue) train for about 1 and half hours, get back to Everbright International Hotel where I am staying, have lunch and off to afternoon nap or seek the internet which I have unfortunately realized is very hard to come by L I finally found a nice lil office where I can check my mail from but I came thinking its free only to find that I had to pay 20yen 2 hours later. Luckily I had moved with some Chinese cash in my pockets which really saved me the embarrassment.


 Anyway later in the evening at 17:00hrs I went off back to the Oriental Sports Centre to watch some diving with Ganzi but we barely made it, found the medal award ceremony and had a fun time taking pics with the Chinese crowd which was thrilled to have two black people in its midst. 


acrogym
After that we moved to the entertainment zone which had a great shows of martial arts, cheerleading, magic shows, acrobatics etc goin on and that was indeed super interesting and it totally made up for missing the diving completely.
Ganzi Tai Chi
While watching the Martial Arts performance, the Mc asked for a volunteer and since we were the only Black people among a crowd of Chinese we stood out and of course I shoved Ganzi forward so as to avoid being picked. He was promptly bodily hoisted on to the stage amidst regardless of his mild resisting J The next few minutes were really fun to watch as he struggled to keep up with the performers smooth movements of Tai Chi …
First cool person
Yesterday was pretty much like today apart from 3 interesting events that occurred!
On a stroll around the hotel we decided to visit the fitness centre and there I met a very interesting girl, first friend I have made here and pretty much the highlight of my day J
Bus Monitor
I made another friend operating on the transportation bus who was kind enough to teach me a few things about china and who is supposed to get me some great Chinese music tomorrow but unfortunately I might not be able to meet her because we have organized a shopping trip around Shanghai and I might not be able to meet her at all 2moro but I hope I get a chance to find her and postpone our catchin up J
Well I also got into a lil trouble for not following protocol and goin off alone to the sports center without informing anybody yester evening.
As for the training section, I feel my stroke feels a lot stronger, my break out after the dive is much better since I started workin on it. I got a muscle cramp in my right calf and it’s still sore but I know it will soon fade off and nothing to give me too much worry. I am a lil concerned about my speed endurance though for the 50m butterfly, my arms seem to become exhausted about 15m to the wall at the other end and that might slow me down and affect my time so I am thinking I should reserve enough energy to power me through the entire 50m.
Okay so in the evening I have settled to simply watching a movie which I must say is a boring choice given the fact that I am in a new city which I need to be exploring, I took a walk around my block on the first nite here and it was pretty interesting to see the Chinese men without shirts on walking around the street but I guess in this weather even I would find taking off my shirt an easier choice to suffocating in this humid heat!
I am thinking of the things  would rather be doing right now but mostly of the people I would wanna be talking to online right now and I admit I am beginning to miss some great company I have become used to over the recent years and the fact that I sometimes take em for granted. I am a lil bored and alienated, theres no one around I can have a real Conrad type conversation with which has made me a lot quieter than I am normally prone to!
Bottom line: right now I am starving for company. It’s a Friday but I have a race to think about, I can’t venture about on my own because that’s indiscipline so I am hoping there’s another interesting movie on the HBO channel which played VAN WILDER last nite, a totally hilarious watch! Ok I am off to check it out, after my race on Sunday I am changing routines somehow J and I hope yáll get to watch me swim … remember u promised!!! J

Friday 22.07.2011   21:40hrs

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

JOURNEY TO SHANGHAI CHINA

Wednesday 20.07.2011


So here I am! Finally in Shanghai. I must say its been a pretty pleasant albeit long flight to get me here. From Entebbe to Dubai with a brief stopover at Addis Ababa was pretty cool, nothing much happened on that one, the plane was big enough and comfy but nothing compared to the larger flight that got me from Dubai to here in shanghai.
We are staying in Everbright International Hotel and it’s a pleasant infact fancy room, very spacious. Its got 2 bathrooms a living room and the bedroom area. The view is awesome, we can see a huge chunk of the city from here and there’s a view from the living room and the bedroom. I chose the bed by the window coz I am not a big fan of walls. I am staying with Abel!!! (so far we getting on fine so I hope it stays that way) On my way from the airport I noticed that the city generally looked like a combination of Bangkok and Belgrade. So far the best city I have stayed in is by far still Dubai! That was awesome.
So I was seated next to this nice looking Chinese gal in the awesome Airbus A380 but I could not get myself to spark off a conversation besides she seemed more interested in watching movies and sleeping so I took my que and did the same. Now when we landed in Pudong international Airport I finally decided to ask her a few questions. To my horror I confirmed that there’s no facebook in China which is gonna make it a very difficult 2 weeks to live through. But the flipside is all the other chat sites including skype work perfectly which should be some sort of consolation but theres simpy no substitute for facebook!! I think I am gon go crazy without facebook seriously!! And I asked extensively whether theres anyway legal or illegal around it or if there some particular places maybe hotels that are exempted from this curfew but she just kept shaking her head so I am resigning myself to life without the world L
As if that wasn’t bad enough I fast learning that communicaton here is going to be a huge hustle! The room service people came by to check on us as soon as we checked in but there was no getting through to them even after a simple request like the time!! I even went to the length of showing them my phone time so that they could make the connection and even that didn’t work so imagine when I tried to get them tell me the forex rates here in Shanghai
Speaking of forex rates, what brought it about was the need to get some local currency as soon as possible because unfortunately even the internet In the hotels is charged which was not the same when we were in Dubai, we didn’t have to pay for the Internet!
So my impression so far of China is very well below expectation, I am sitting in an okay furnished hotel room which has no drinks in the fridge, wondering how I am gon get the internet and feeling afraid to step anywhere without supervision just in case I get lost and I can’t communicate my way back home and whats worse I had built up enough rapport to get the contacts of the nice looking gal in the plane but we had to disembark before I could get her name so I could locate her on facebook or msn ( she happens to be an exchange student studying in Germany) which explains why she is on facebook. Well I am off to explore the rest of the hotel. I will report back here probably with access to the internet so that I can post this on my blog and chat with u all. As for my pips on facebook, u will here from me in august!
Catch yáll J

Monday, 18 July 2011

FINAL UG THOUGHTS

MONDAY 18.07.2011
So here I am finally done packing (thanks for the help n packing company- you know who you are xx J)  I think I am all set. The wait is finally over. Tomorrow I fly out of here!! There are a lot of things running through my mind but most of all I just feel so blessed. I am so thankful to the Lord God for getting me thus far. After everything I’ve overcome, here I am, I made it … sorta J it’s a beautiful night and I don’t feel like wasting it with sleep, I have been waiting for this moment for so long that right now I don’t even know what to feel, its just incredible and right now I am taking it for granted but a month ago when my getting selected was at stake this was my whole world, getting to this point occupied my entire being and now that I am here I just don’t know! I got a long flight ahead of me but I am guessing it will be well worth it. I did a little training today just to have a feel for the water but all I wanna do is compete, I have gotten bored with the same routine of workouts I need some action, I wanna stand with the world championships and watch history in the making.
Its time for the real deal, the preparations have come to an end and now I wanna see the results for all the pain and strain, the headaches and day dreams and I feel the people around me rooting for me, I feel the pressure rising but pressure is good, it’s a great driving force. I am doing this for you Lord and for all those who believe in me and I know that at the end of the day there’s only me to beat, the others will be a bonus, am keepin it real, that’s how I roll … always.
Okay my day has expired, its 2 mins to midnight, everything today has gone perfectly according to plan, tomorrow is goin to have an explosive start with a last minute celebration with my boys, the preps for that are already in place, too bad some of ma boys wont be able to see me off but I am sure they all here in spirit … lets do this!!!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

DAY 2 GOGG-LED

SATURDAY 16.07.2011 10:17
So  after a spontaneous decision not to stay in on a Friday nite I went to cayenne to hang wit Olivia till 1pm. It was pretty awesome the music was awesome but the dj a crappy mixer, how can u mix Madonnas celebration with black n yellow!! Anyway I watched a movie after I came back which means I slept at 4 am hehehehe (bad boy) loving this weekend already. Woke up at 7am!!! Maaaaaan wats wrong wit my body, so I determined to stay in bed till a Godly hour of 10am but it’s been the most boring 3 hours, I was neither asleep nor awake, I didn’t know it was possible to toss n turn at 8 in the morning!! Anyway the cool music playing from my morning playlist made it a little bearable, in fact it’s the whole reason why I failed to meet my 10 oçlock mark. After eminems NO LOVE xmix started playing I couldn’t hang in my bed anymore so here I am, turned the volume up, dancing in my boxers to serious xmixes and thinkin of what I should have for breakfast.
13:02
Still not showered yet. I haven’t budged from the house yet. Am going insane with inactivity. 2 hours in the pool suddenly feels very appealing! Been watching WHITE COLAR but 2 episodes later; am in need of something else to do. Its lunch time but am not hungry due to a late breakfast. I am Still undecided on whether to get a haircut or not. Okay I think I should go to the ATM these stupid house bills have just cleaned me of all the loose cash I had on me, it’s about time I stopped procrastinating over preparing myself for the trip and actually start getting my stuff together. So far I haven’t touched the camcorder which I am supposed to use to video my trip, I have to erase all the old footage from the dvd rewritables  so I can create space for the new data but I am in no mood for that. I still need to get the travel bag I will be using but whatever, that can wait lol my shopping list is still vague; I don’t really know what I want to buy from China.
I have a friend coming to pass by for 10 mins but considering she stood me up lastnite, I am not really thrilled about her visit. Hmmm I have an idea, I should call up Samantha, I remember she promised earlier this week to drop by over the weekend! Yay. Okay I have a phone call to make catch yáll later.
Shitt!! I call Samantha’s phone and a male voice answers the call eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkk!!!! Okay it’s just a workmate who’s borrowed her phone!! What the heck is he doin wit her phone?
Hmmmm … mobile money transfer? Ohhh ok!
Will get back to me in 10mins when he’s back at office and phone back to its rightful owner
Sawa … Weird!! (Sam needs to stop using random boys to do her work) lol
Now!! Destination ATM
22:33
My day is practically over. I am just having my yummy dinner of chapatti and gravy with milk. The pips I was chatting with online were making me sleepy so I took an afternoon nap after my heavy lunch. Tried calling Sam and she wasn’t pickin up so I gave up on her. 2 hours and a nice cold shower later and I was ready to hit the road, to where?? I have no idea so I took a stroll thru town and ended right back here in my room so I decided to do what I usually do when I am extremely bored; write J
After a few minutes I get a phone call. Its Sammy and she is right outside my apartment but not sure which one it is exactly so I run out of the house with no shoes on  and wave at her to come up.
I must say Sammy turned my evening around and made my day. It was good to see her. I must say after she left everything seemed to be more cheerful, even the music playlist from my mobile sounded fresher. So I decided to take a walk to Wandegz instead of using my bike coz I wanted to enjoy the lovely evening on Buganda road. On the way I couldn’t resist the urge to swing my arms in the butterfly and freestyle stroke movement and I was thinking wow I have survived a whole day away from the pool, hmmm not bad hehehe
I stopped before that anxious feeling of how I will perform creeps up on me. Too early to get nervous.
I went straight to the barber shop and I am glad I made the decision to get a haircut because the haircut experience was very pampering. My hair smells nice lol and the barbers were talking about their childhood experiences with the doc and the needle, it was war every time and the narrators Luganda was hilarious.
On my way back I passed by People’s Choice restaurant to pick up my dinner and trod back. The moon is out so I decided to go on the roof. The silver light from the full moon and the breeze made the night look and feel so beautiful and surreal so I climb up onto my perch to stare at the moon while listening to Birdys ‘’skinny love’’ and metrics ‘’collect call’’ that moment simply completed my day
Till 2moro goodnight yáll J

Friday, 15 July 2011

GUYRA GOGG-LED

So before I start on the content of this blog I just want give a brief history of what this is all about. I admit the title of this whole thingy sounds pretty weird even to me but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what it’s all about especially if you know a lil bit of who I am.
Basically this is a preventive initiative.
Its something I am doing to avoid having to tell my adventures a thousand times to all the several friends of mine that will be interrogating me about my trip in the weeks after I come back from Shanghai. The truth is sometimes things can be very overwhelming and I just simply have no great way to tell what I have been up to while I was away. This way yáll can read this and quit bugging me about it, coz yeah I have been to a few of these trips and the experiences cannot be put into words for the most part so here we go. Let’s take a trip together!!
Okay back to the title hmmmm
Its just a reflection of me and what I will be going through hence me through my eyes!! Which for the most part lately are goggled!! Goggles are those tight rubber eye covers that swimmers use to protect their eyes from the crazy burning sensation from the pool water lol (I know u guys aint stupid but it’s fun patronizing yáll – if u don’t like it then quit reading J )
Also I like that title coz it rhymes with Google so it’s a way to get information about me and my next several days in an interesting way, up close and first hand. It’s me and my swimming unveiled to u, my own little reality read.
I have been plenty busy before this with work and summer camp and training so now that my work is out of the way and my training has slowed down to just an hour of painful sprints every day I finally find myself with a lot of time and no idea what to do with it! So spending time here mixed with the dread of having to have several conversations about the same thing have pushed me to this point.
Its Friday (Yaaaaaaaaay) I just completed my final workout for the week. Me and Ganzi worked on starts, am finding it hard to achieve the perfect breakout from the deep after the dive and also it’s hard to restrain myself from immediately undulating after the dive. Coach says I should utilize the momentum from the dive before I kick in. That was the easy part, the sprints started after that and sprinting butterfly with my head out with a freestyle kick is killer. Then freestyle head out 4 sets of 25m just drained my last bit of energy, I barely got through the swim down. Am thinking of dodging training next Monday since my flight is on Tuesday and I could always convince myself that I simply have no time to train since I will be busy packing hehehe and after what I went through today, there’s no way the pool is seeing my face over the entire weekend. Unless … L
Anyway a peek in the mirror n I like what I see apart from the horrendous shock of wild hair on my head. That’s gotta go (mental note to go to the barbers this evening)
Am now back in my room to find my homeboy Adiga ‘’catching Love and other drugs’’ I already saw that so I decide to write this to while away the time! I have the option of visiting my crazy friend Hiraa and her sis Sana but am feeling lazy after those sprints. Yesterday I was taught a lesson in humility. I had to swallow my pride and ask for directions to the restaurant I had to meet Hiraa and later on at her sis place that Ludo Game! Gave me a whole new appreciation of rules. This type of game is soo different from the Ludo I am used to, we had an funny argument over the damn game but in the end it was fun hangin wit those crazy gals hehehe
Okay Laura is coming over to visit J so I gots to go … till tomorrow the countdown continues just a few more days left! People been asking me if I am excited, I guess I should be but right now I just feel a lil anxious and I don’t know why and I probably will feel excited on the way to the airport.
Am also planning to have my boys escort me to the airport, that’s bound to be crazy fun but for now I have to get them together first and then sort out the logistics, anyway I hope it works out coz those fools make my day!!
Am out!!
15.07.2011 14:07